Posts Categorized: Opinion

Defending the sustainability test for barn conversions






Planning permission for a barn conversion in Gloucestershire has recently been turned down at appeal, the inspector finding that it was located in an unsustainable location (DCS Number 200-005-778). The inspector found a high probability that there would be a high dependency on the private car to access services and on that basis the proposal would conflict with local plan policy.

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Housing land shortage leads to lifting of holiday homes restriction






The scenario described in (DCS Number 400-013-674) must be common to a number of holiday mobile home parks up and down the country: “…the appellant claims that the units have never been available to rent by third parties as short-term holiday accommodation…” and “…the site lacks the kind of shared facilities one would normally associate with a holiday park.” This appeal sought the removal of the condition which limited the mobile homes to occupation for holiday purposes.

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Weasel words






An appeal decision relating to the refusal of outline permission for “exemplar sustainable self-build development” in Cornwall shows that it takes more than vocabulary to gain permission for housing outside a development boundary (DCS Number 400-013-227).

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What a waste






What a waste of human endeavour. An inspector has upheld an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a pair of gates over 1m in height and 2.5m from the highway at a house in Surrey, finding that planning permission was required (DCS Number 400-012-202).

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PPS7 Annex A – gone but not forgotten






A recently decided appeal relating to a proposed farm worker’s dwelling in the county of Durham (DCS Number 200-005-060) brings us back to a Blog from February Nearly four years on and deleted guidance is still in use. In that Blog we noted inspectors’ unwillingness to let go of Annex A to PPS7 notwithstanding that this guidance has been deleted. In the Durham appeal the inspector noted that no accounts had been submitted to confirm the viability of the farm business. The appellant argued, however, that the Embleton Parish Council & Anor, R v Gaston [2013] case concluded that there is no need to produce financial justification for a farm dwelling. The inspector acknowledged that this judgment highlights that the test under paragraph 55 of the NPPF is different from that under Annex A of PPS7, in that it simply requires a judgement of whether the proposed agricultural enterprise has an essential need for a worker to live there or not. Nevertheless, she recorded that there is no indication that in making that judgement, the decision-maker does not need to take any account of financial evidence, and in fact in the Embleton case financial evidence had been submitted by various parties to the decision-maker.

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Prior approval – again






We recognise that we might be going on a bit about the shortcomings of the prior approval regime……but we’re not stopping. Here is another daft outcome.

A planning authority in Yorkshire refused prior approval for a householder extension on the basis that development had already commenced and therefore could not benefit from the prior approval process (DCS Number 400-011-347). At appeal, an inspector recognised that there is no provision in the GPDO for a retrospective application for prior approval. The appellant stated, however, that the existing extension would be demolished. On that basis the inspector decided that the application related to a proposal for a new development and allowed the appeal.

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Rules is rules






There is sometimes uncertainty about whether it is required or permissible to provide an inspector with updated information. A recent court case, Robinson v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 22/1/16, provides a steer in respect of housing land supply figures, but is it in the right direction?

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